The LSL Class

CAMELOT



Built: 1946 by Vickers Armstrong Ltd;, Newcastle.
Tonnage: 7, 795g, 4, 511n, 9, 750 dwt.
Engines: Single Screw, 2 Stage Turbine by Metropolitan-Vickers, 6, 800 SHP, 15 Knots.
Heavy lift ship with 2x 120 ton derricks.
Completed June 1946 for Ministry of Transport with Alfred Holts a manager, Yard No. 94, Launch as Empire Athelstan.

Sold to Ben Line in May 1947 and renamed Benalbanach in 1963 laid up at Hartlepool. In November she is taken out of mothballs by the Ministry of Transport with British India as managers and is renamed Camelot. In February 1968 she is placed in reserve on the River Fal and reverts back to the Ministry of Transport. Mercur Shipping Enterprises SA become the new owners in 1969 and rename her Dragon Castle, briefly she is owned by Cuatebol Shipping in 1975 before arriving in Split for breaking on the 5th December 1975 by Brodospas.

I have been reliably informed that this photograph was taken after the ship had been taken over by British India, note if you can read it, her name is on a piece of board. As my informant states the photograph was taken on the River Fal but Laxon & Perry state that she was taken over in Hartlepool, could this possibly be Hartlepool in the background?

SIR LANCELOT



Built: 1964 Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd, Govan
Tonnage: 6,390g, 3,315n, 2, 180 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x12 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Sulzers, 9,520 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
340 Troops, 18 Officers and 50 Ratings.
Launched 25th June 1963, completed 16th January 1964. Yard No: 818

The first ship of her type and class she differed slightly from her sisters but the main difference was in the Engine Room, the Lancelot having Sulzers, the remaining ships Mirrlees Monarch Propulsion Units. If my memory serves me correctly the Lancelot along with Bedivere, Galahad and numerous LST's were present in Aden for our withdrawal before all the facilities were handed over to the Southern Yemeni Authorities, at the time I was Fourth Engineer on the Bedivere. The ships not only had the ability to beach but were able to carry Mexi-floats secured port/starboard and when fitted with engines could land personnel/ equipment in some of the more remote places that the ships visited. The helicopter pad was above the Military Officers' accommodation and if required the helicopters could refuel. Vehicles were not only carried on the top deck but on the tank deck below, other Military Ranks were accommodated either side on the tank deck. On the 3rd January she was handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxillary. On the 24th May 1982 two Argentinian bombs struck the ship which fortunately failed to explode during the Falklands War.

The Lancelot paid off on the 31st March 1989 at Southampton, she was sold to Lowline (Rambler) Ltd and renamed Lowland Lancer. In 1992 she was sold to the Ministry of Defense (Singapore) and renamed Perseverance as far as I know she is still in service.

SIR GALAHAD



Built: 1966 Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd, Govan
Tonnage: 4,473g, 2,179n, 2, 404 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x10 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Mirrlees Monarchs, 9,400 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
Launched 19th April 1966, completed 17th December 1966. Yard No: 690

On the 7th March the Galahad was transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxillary. On the 24th of may 1982 during the Falklands War she was struck by a bomb whilst off the Falklands which failed to explode, nevertheless she caught fire and had to be beached, she was later refloated. (We have received information from David Gerrard ( RFA Plymouth site)that in fact the Sir Galahad was never beached as reported in several accounts.) Two weeks later on the 8th June she was hit by an Argentinian bomb whilst at Bluff Cove catching fire again. But this time she had to be abandoned which led to the ship being scuttled off Port Stanley on the 24th June.

SIR BEDIVERE



Built: 1967 by Hawthorn Leslie (Shipbuilders) Ltd, Hebburn.
Tonnage: 4,474g, 3,489n, 2, 404 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x10 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Mirrlees Monarchs, 9,400 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
Launched 20th July 1966, completed 18th May 1967. Yard No: 760

The first of the three Hawthorn Leslie ships arrived in Marchwood, Hampshire at Husband's Shipyard for exercises with the Royal Corps of Transport whose camp was adjacent to the yard. I joined the ship as Fourth Engineer on the 22nd June just before she sailed for Aden calling at Gibraltar for minor repairs before continuing the long way round via the Cape. The Bedivere along with half the Fleet anchored in the inner harbour with the remaining support vessels anchored outside, after approximately five weeks the Governor General attended a fly past and the largest British Fleet assembled since the Spithead Review dispersed, the Bedivere made her way to Singapore, the Far East being her allocated station. Whilst British India managed the ships it was usual for two ships to be stationed in Singapore, two in the Persian Gulf and the remaining two in the UK. On the 14th January 1970 she was transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxillary and is still in service.


Control Room, Main Switchboard



Control Room. Engine Consul to Left, Switchboard Centre, Data Logger to Right


Air Conditioning Plant


Port Main Engine Cylinder Heads


SIR GERAINT



Built: 1967 by Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd, Govan
Tonnage: 4,473g, 2,179n, 2, 404 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x10 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Mirrlees Monarchs, 9,400 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
Launched 26th January 1967, completed 12th July 1967. Yard No: 691

All this class of ship were fitted with spray curtain systems which enveloped the whole of the accommodation in a fine mist, thus we were assured in the event of nuclear fall out it would simply wash off the ship, also port and starboard entrances below the upper vehicle deck were fitted with decontamination showers. In the Control Room it was possible not only to steer, navigate and communicate but through the use of remote cameras actually see what was going on in the event of vacating the Bridge, quite innovative fro ships built over thirty years ago. I joined this particular ship as Third Engineer on the 14th August 1968 and left two days short of a year on the 12th August, on the 5th March 1970 the Geraint transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxillary and is still in service.

SIR TRISTRAM



Built: 1967 by Hawthorn Leslie (Shipbuilders) Ltd, Hebburn.
Tonnage: 4,473g, 2,179n, 2, 404 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x10 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Mirrlees Monarchs, 9,400 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
Launched 12th December 1966, completed 14th September 1967. Yard No: 761

This ship transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxillary on the 30th January 1970. During the Falklands War she was bombed by Argentinian aircraft at Bluff Cove had severely damaged, nevertheless she returned to the UK for repairs aboard the special purpose ship Dan Lifter in June of 1983. Between August of 1984 and October of 1985 she was rebuilt which included a new 29ft long midship section the cost being 13 million and work was carried out at Tyne Shiprepairers Ltd, the Tristram is still in service.

SIR PERCIVALE



Built: 1968 by Hawthorn Leslie (Shipbuilders) Ltd, Hebburn.
Tonnage: 4,473g, 2,179n, 2, 404 dwt
Engines: Twin Screw 2x10 Cylinder 2S.C.S.A. Mirrlees Monarchs, 9,400 BHP, 17 knots.
Built for the Ministry of Transport with British India appointed as Managers.
Launched 4th October 1967, completed 23rd March 1968. Yard No: 762

The final of the six-build programme, the Percivale transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxillary on the 6th March 1970 and is still in service. I believe a new ship was built to replace the Galahad which took the number of this particular class of ships back to six.

Subsequent to completing the LSL's I have recently received a photograph of the new Sir Galahad as shown below.


The New Sir Galahad